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MoD encourages DNA Testing


A DNA test is not only of use when it comes to helping the living, it can also help deal with the dead. It’s a morbid thought, but there are events and industries where death has to be faced up to. Major tragedies that leave few body remains, such as the collapse of the Twin Towers in New York or the tsunami in the Indian Ocean that cause massive death and damage, rely on DNA tests to help identify body parts.

In The Army Now

And the army is the most obvious profession that can benefit from DNA analysis. Although nobody likes to think of the possibility of death, being in the army means by definition there’s a possibility of dying in action. A DNA test is of particular help in an age where suicide bombs and disastrous air crashes are typical to modern warfare. The MoD as a result is ‘strongly encouraging’ its personnel to have their DNA recorded in a DNA bank to help make identification easier if they should die in such a dreadful way. A DNA test would be able to instantly identify bodies that have become unrecognisable by other means by testing forensic samples that are still viable for DNA analysis – perhaps bones, hairs, teeth or other types of body tissue.

Minimising Distress And Trauma

As the Armed Forces Minister Bob Ainsworth told the press, “Although the risk of death is small for personnel deployed on operations, the possibility is a fact of life.” A DNA test is a simple, straightforward solution that could minimize the trauma and doubt for families of missing soldiers. However, without having a DNA database or bank that the tests can be checked against, the process demands collecting samples from personal effects or family members. This can cause huge distress and pain.

Last Resort

The MoD believes collecting DNA that can be matched with a simple DNA based test is the most effective precautionary measure to help identify dead personnel quickly and eliminate the terrible risk of confusion over identity. The DNA samples will only be used to identify corpses, according to the MoD, that have been mutilated or burnt beyond recognition. They also state that the DNA samples won’t be analysed or put into the national police database. DNA samples can also be destroyed by written request once the person in question leaves the armed forces or after 45 years.

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